Things have been pretty hectic since getting to Nicaragua – there’s a lot going on here, and I feel right in the thick of it living with Edilbertha, the director of the clinic, as she gets herself involved in a different good cause every day. In the meantime, I’ve been enjoying my free time both in El Viejo where I’m staying and further afield, and taking touristy pictures as well. So it definitely makes sense to put a sample of what I’ve been doing here, in picture form.
For this page, and all the photos in the article Nicaragua 1 and all articles from now on, click directly on the photos to see them blown up.
First – on the way to Nicaragua – Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras
The classic school buses that make up most of the public transport in Central America
Looking down the hot and dusty main central street of El Viejo, the town where I am staying for 3 and a half months
One of the churches of El Viejo, which has some of the oldest in the country
Another view of Volcan San Cristobal, from very near the colonia where I am staying. You can see clearly the tower of smoke coming from the volcano, but this is the calm period after the second “Yellow Alert” of the year
The central church in Chinandega, a city 15 minutes from El Viejo, and the capital of the Department
The same picture as the first article, but the best to show the house and some of the family including 4 of the grand-children – Left to right: Edilbertha’s mother, Edilbertha, Haminton, Cristel, Raquel (one of her daughters), Brando and Bertha
One of Edilbertha’s fights was getting the engineer that was taking cane from the nearby fields through the colonia, to use his machines to recut the surface of the earth roads there afterwards – this is the street that my house is on
Another project driven by Edilbertha is the full-on construction of a 2 storey education centre and creche for the children of the workers in her colonia, which started just after I arrived, and is providing much needed employment for the people there too
The Cosiguina Peninsular Protected Area, an hour out of El Viejo
The view into the precipitous crater of Volcan Cosiguina
We went up the volcano on horse back – second nature it seemed for my guides. Less so for me!
Potosi, at the foot of Volcan Cosiguina, has a long stretch of beach and also this fantastic pool, made with a small dam across a stream of warm spring water
Sesame seed is one of the main crops grown in the West of Nicaragua, including one of the sources of revue for the Milagro de Dios farmers
Planting fruit trees for additional income is also common, such as this orange orchard funded by AIDEPC, another community organisation I visited
It’s not all fun though – the main thing I’m trying to do is bring more patients into the clinic so it’s busy again, like it was this day
Then there’s supporting Edilbertha in visits to conferences, such as this one in Managua organised by unionised domestic cleaners attempting to give this often exploited group a louder voice in Nicaragua
And this meeting in El Viejo of a group of unionists organising to develop a local union resource centre
I’ve also been working occasionally with the CMO – here is some of their main group, on the visit to the beneficiaries of their cooker project
And discussing details of their plan, and ENCA’s support, in the CMO’s office
I was also very lucky to be invited to a conference and training day for Nicaraguan teachers of English – a good chance to get a little bit of background knowledge for my attempts
More fighting – in 3 crazy days Edilbertha was called to support 3 legal battles – one group of people arrested in an attempt to push them off their land, another grooup of victims of domestic abuse, and on this day one of the clinic’s organisers, Arnulfo was arrested for his part in bringing together a protest outside the company Trabanic, an agricultural company that is supposed to be 25% labourer owned, after a hostile take over by its wealthy board members
The morning after the smoke cleared from the Volcan San Cristobal yellow alert smoke venting, the colonia was again filled with cloying smoke, this time from cane fires lit in the fields around the community, that weren’t burning properly due to the layer of volcanic ash over them. The community and fire brigade spent the morning putting out the smouldering fires to clear the thick smoke that I can now smell on all my clothes. Air pollution from cane burning is a big problem in El Viejo.
I have decided to have a change of look, facilitated by clippers!
Christmas in Nicaragua is a time of many many celebrations and fireworks, in the parks and in the streets of El Viejo
The tropical christmas lights and enormous “tree” of the government fun fair in Managua
One of those tropical beach pictures. On the way to Padre de Ramos beach for Boxing Day!
One of my favourite pictures – one of many rockets set off out of someone’s hands on the riotous streets during one of the main celebrations
Some of the family and other guys from the colonia on a beach boat ride out of Padre de Ramos
My new beach look!
The youngest grandkid, holding one of the chickens that runs around the family house (aaawwwww!)
Dancing is a part of life here, so I was happy to join in, although it meant being photographed and filmed by a huge number of laughing people
A doll awaiting midnight new year’s eve, when it will be burnt as part of the traditional celebrations – but not before being filled with fireworks and rockets, in proper Latin American style
Pinyatas awaiting christmas day, when every other street was decked out with them
Edilbertha and her family were also at the centre of organising christmas festivities in her colonia – here I am helping give out the christmas presents
Some of the grandkids enjoying the spoils of Christmas day